A weekend spent in Manila Part I

The image of Manila in my mind has always been limited to how Quiapo and Sampaloc look like - dilapidated, crowded, smelly and at most of times of the day, a little scary. Of course, these candid observations would warrant a local government official declaring persona non-grata had these been said by a foreigner. I guess truth hurts. But anyone who can take a snapshot of Recto and the  cramped streets of Balic-Balic would tell you, that what I said is true.

This weekend, however, our friend Andy invited us to spend three days at H2O Hotel for his post birthday celebration. H2O Hotel is located inside Manila Ocean Park that is perched atop Manila Bay.

Given this rare chance to stay in Manila, we took the opportunity to explore what used to be the country's foremost business district and discovered a lot of hidden and not so hidden gems that made us change our general perception of the place.

Even on the way over, I started to realize that this part of Manila that I have always avoided is actually quite beautiful, save for the flamboyant street lights that could have been replaced by more modest albeit classier ones.

Here are photos from our staycation in Manila. Disclaimer: Most of these photos were taken using a camera phone hence the quality. I did bring a DSLR but it was colder than usual so it preferred staying inside my bag where it was warm and comfy. Photos, unless otherwise stated, are taken and owned by dalebacar.com.

 The Manila Post Office building that will soon be restored and transformed into the world-class Fullerton Hotel

The Roxas Boulevard Skyline

A view of Sofitel Hotel taken from the Baywalk area

Photo credit: H2O Hotel website
We stayed in a marine-themed room with a relaxing view of different types of fishes. Think Aquarium Channel but this time, you are watching live fish! I even spotted a Nemo there!

My cozy work area

Since I carry around my work, vacations for me normally mean that I have to be someplace with a stable internet connection. H2O Hotel had a very reliable (and free) WIFI connection so I was able to work hassle-free! I missed the buffet breakfast on our first day because I was catching up with a work deadline so I ordered room service! The food was pretty decent and the price was very reasonable. Of course, I just had to try out the buffet on our second day and the food was also mostly okay too.

This post is getting too long as I haven't even began talking about the restaurants that we checked out so I will post a part 2 soon.

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